Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, appeared optimistic about the prospects of relations with Egypt, after meeting his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, on the sidelines of the G20 summit in New Delhi on 10 September.
He told reporters on his way home that the meeting was 'very positive'. Turkey, he added, wants to strengthen relations with Cairo.
Erdoğan also revealed that the Turkish and Egyptian foreign ministers and intelligence chiefs would arrange dates to exchange presidential visits in the coming period.
Erdoğan was quoted by the newly-appointed Turkish Ambassador to Cairo, Salih Mutlu Sen, noting that Egypt and Turkey would increase bilateral trade and revive their Strategic Cooperation Council.
He expressed optimism about Cairo's and Ankara's ability to achieve positive outcomes on many regional issues.
Nevertheless, complete reconciliation between Egypt and Turkey is easier said than done, observers in Cairo say, due to 'fundamental differences' between the two countries.
Erdoğan's meeting with el-Sisi in New Delhi was the two leaders' second, after a Qatar-mediated one in Doha in November 2022, during the opening of the FIFA World Cup.
BREAKING — Erdogan for the first time met Egyptian President Sisi.
Qatari Emir seems to have arranged a brief salutations in Doha pic.twitter.com/OeFdvsjyy9— Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) November 20, 2022
Relations between Egypt and Turkey sharply deteriorated after the popularly-backed ousting by the Egyptian army of Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohamed Morsi, in 2013.
Erdoğan publicly protested Morsi's ousting and stood up for Brotherhood leaders and members — some of whom were involved in egregious crimes, including killing Egyptian police and army officers.
The Brotherhood's political rise in Egypt, following the 2011 downfall of the regime of longstanding president Hosni Mubarak, was a minor blip in the larger picture of Islamists' political empowerment across the region on the margins of the 'Arab Spring' — a series of revolutions that swept through the region, from Tunisia to Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria.
As Islamism expert Muneer Adeeb put it, Turkey had pinned much hope on this Islamist takeover of regional states, including Egypt.
"Turkey does not believe it belongs in Europe where it is geographically located but finds in Islamist movements across the Arab region a truer expression of its own cultural identity," Adeeb told Al Majalla.
"It believed its support for the Islamists who took over the reins of power in the region would serve its own interests," he added.
Morsi's ousting by the army was an act that represented two evils to Erdoğan:
1. The beginning of the collapse of his country's post-Arab Spring regional plans which were primarily based on the Islamist takeover of regional states
2. A new period of military tutelage over politics in a major Arab country where events usually reverberate across the region and – maybe – in his own country.
His fears in connection with the first of the two evils materialised a short time later when the Islamist regimes mounting the saddle of regional states started faltering one after another after the Brotherhood's downfall in Egypt.
His fears concerning the second evil materialised in July 2016, when a group of Turkish army officers tried to stage a coup against his own government.